1. The Jackson Lady Bears enter Friday’s Regional Final on a 10 game winning streak (last loss came to McKinley on January 24th 69-57). The Solon Lady Comets are on a 12 game winning streak (last loss came on January 14th to Mason 52-40).
2. Senior forward Margaux Spencer is Jackson’s 2nd leading scorer this season. She is averaging right around 7ppg. In the Bears 4 playoff wins, she has scored 9ppg. She is also 2nd on the team in blocks at 24.
3. Taylor Mikesell is still working on history — she is the all-time leading scorer in Stark County history with 2,156 points. She is averaging 29ppg this season. Mikesell has made 311 3s in her career (5th all-time in state history). She has 114 made 3s this season alone, if she makes 2 in this game vs Solon, she will set the all-time state record for 3s in a single season (breaking the record of 115 set by Emily Kelley from Gilmour Academy in the 2015-16 season). Taylor is shooting a blistering 93% from the free throw line; she has converted 409-464 of her career free throws. Good for 88.14%, the 2nd best career percentage in state history (Mel Thomas from Cincy Mt Notre Dame holds the record of 88.4% or 398-450). Mikesell has made 21 straight free throws and 53 of her last 54 this season. Mikesell has been named this year’s All-Inland Northeast Ohio District Co-Player of the Year. She is sharing the honor with McKinley’s Kierstan Bell.
4. Chloe Falconer is the leading rebounder for the Lady Bears. She averages almost 8 boards per game. She has 43 rebounds in the Bears 4 playoff wins, meaning she has averaged 10.8 during the postseason.
5. Jackson sophomore Kerianne Diese has 17 points over her last two games. She hit a game winning 3 in the District Final against GlenOak. She shot 3 long balls in the Regional Semi-Final win over Kenston, converting on 2 of them. She was a JV player in June and has repeatedly been referred to as the most improved player on the team by 5th year head coach Anthony Butch.
6. Jackson coach Anthony Butch is 12-4 all-time in the tournament. This is his 2nd berth in a Regional Final in 5 years. Butch has been named this year’s All-Inland Northeast Ohio District Coach of the Year.
7. Jackson is 22-4 the season, the 22 wins is a single season record for a Jackson girls team.
8. Taylor Mikesell of Jackson and Valencia Myers of Solon are the only two players that started in the 2015 Regional Final match-up between these two. Solon won 62-45, but Mikesell outplayed Myers, as the Maryland commit had 17 points and Myers, who is headed to Florida State, had just 4 points. Both were Freshman, now they are Seniors.
9. Solon has had an amazing run as a team; this is their 7th straight trip to the Regional Final. All of which have occurred under 9th year head coach Trish Kruse. During that run, they have only made it to Columbus twice and they have never won a state championship. They have never even played in a state championship game during this run. Kruse has been named this year’s All-Northeast Lakes District Coach of the Year.
10. Solon loves to shoot the 3 ball. They have made 234 this year alone. Senior guard Katherine Dittoe has 66 of those; Senior guard Gabby Mitchell (headed to Akron) has 56 makes and Senior Guard Mariah Modkins who has committed to Kent State has 44 made shots from downtown.
11. The 3 point makes are deceiving in a sense. If you combine Modkins, Dittoe, Mitchell and Myers – they account for 181 of the made Solon 3s. In a similar thought – if you combine Mikesell, Spencer, Diese and Lauren Scheetz – they account for 173 made 3s for Jackson. Solon has played in more blowouts this season too, allowing bench kids to see more minutes. Jackson has played in a lot of close games and has not had the opportunity to launch as many freewheeling 3s.
12. Jackson has defeated Louisville, North Canton, GlenOak and Kenston to get to this point. They are winning games by an average of 46.5-35.2. Solon has dispatched Twinsburg, Nordonia, Stow and Cleveland St. Joseph Academy. They are winning by an average of 58-32.
13. Solon is turnover prone despite their 24-2 record. They have 578 turnovers this season, that’s good for an astounding 22 a game.
14. Solon hasn’t lost a conference game in 2 years. They are 28-0 in Greater Cleveland Conference play the last two seasons.
15. Jackson hasn’t won a Federal League title since 1978.
16. Senior post Valencia Myers is a load. She stands at 6-2 in the program, but towers above everyone on the floor. She has churned out great playoff efforts in Solon’s run to the Regional Final. Her most impressive effort was in the District Final when Solon pounded Stow 60-27. Myers had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks. She shoots 50% from the field and averages a near double-double with 15ppg and 8rpg. Myers is also a McDonald’s All-American selection. She is also the All-Northeast Lakes District Player of the Year this season.
17. Taylor Mikesell is due for a big game. In her 4 postseason performances, she is averaging just 19ppg and has shot just 8-38 from 3. That’s just 21% from deep. During the regular season, she shot 44% from 3 point land and averaged 30.7ppg.
18. Mikesell has just 1 3 pointer in her last two games, it is the worst two game stretch of 3 point shooting in her career. None of those 3s came from set plays either. The one make in her last two games was a half-court shot to end the first half of their Regional Semi-Final win over Kenston.
19. This is the 4th meeting between these two teams all-time. Solon is 2-1 in those previous 3.
20. Solon finished 6th in the final AP poll.
Jackson Coaches listed these as their following keys to a win.
A. Contain Valencia inside.
B. Handle Solon’s full court pressure and traps.
C. REBOUND, REBOUND, REBOUND.
Solon Coaches listed these as their keys to a win.
A. Make free throw attempt late in the game.
B. Attention to detail defensively and rebounding the basketball.
C. Take care of the rock – Don’t turn the ball over.
22. You can listen to the game on 1480 WHBC. Jackson and Solon will tip at 7:30 at the Civic Center. Jon Bozeka will handle the play-by-play. He will be joined by guest analyst and Minerva boys coach Shawn Green. Bob Jeffreys will handle the stats.